The Ultimate Guide to Starting an Affiliate Program for Your Business

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The Ultimate Guide to Starting an Affiliate Program for Your Business

Last Update June 2021 by Crystallace

Social Media has shown us that there has been a huge shift from traditional advertising to affiliate marketing. You may even participate in affiliate marketing programs yourself. I know I do. I use affiliate marketing for products and services that I use and I also have my own affiliate program that I use to market my own products and services. If you think your audience would benefit from my easy to use legal templates, you should join my affiliate program. You can check out the best affiliate program for bloggers, my program, here.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways you can generate additional revenue for your website and because you know that you are probably thinking.

Since affiliate marketing is part of my online presence I decided to write this Ultimate Guide on Affiliate Marketing for Business Owners.

“How can I go about starting an affiliate program for my business?”

Basically, you would let other people market your products and services on other websites and platforms. This would lead to more exposure, more sales, and more website traffic for you. In return, you would pay your affiliates a percentage of any sales that originate from their marketing efforts.

“What does starting an affiliate program look like for my business?”

The way this works is usually you give them special hyperlinks that they can post on their website. These hyperlinks usually contain an ID code which helps to track their efforts.  In this example, a blogger might put this link on their blog to try to get their readers to click through to your page and hopefully buy something. If the visitor who clicks on this link actually buys something, affiliate tracking software will automatically (usually – depends on what system you are using) pay your affiliate a percentage of the sale.   

Another way you can do this is by giving your affiliates, their own discount code that works with your Ecommerce store. Like “CRYSTAL10” for 10% off or free shipping. This way, when a visitor buys something  and uses the code (which they have an incentive to do), you can track the sale to your affiliate and pay them a percentage of the sale.

Sounds legit, right? Anybody can sell your products and you just give them a cut of the sales. Before you jump in head first there are three important things you need to do prior to launching your own affiliate marketing program.

First, Figure Out How Much of a Commission You Can Afford to Pay

You’ll have to do some math to figure out how much of a percentage you can afford to give up before starting an affiliate program. Can you part with 5% of the total revenue that comes from a sale? How about 10%? The higher the percentage, then generally the more affiliate traffic you will receive. If you’re really interested in setting up an affiliate program, you may want to raise your prices to allow a margin to pay affiliate marketers. Don’t be stingy with your affiliates. My affiliate program pays a generous 50% commission.  Treat your affiliate commissions like you would an advertising budget. Not only are they bringing you sales, they’re bringing you new customers.

Second, Build Your Own Tracking System

If you don’t want to use an affiliate network, you can build your own tracking system. For example, Shopify shops have plugins and models that you can install to start your own affiliate marketing program. Because my site is a WordPress site, I use WP Affiliate. It’s just up to you to advertise your program well enough to get affiliate marketers to want to join.

Alternatively, you can join an Affiliate Marketing Network. The easiest thing to do is to sign up for an affiliate marketing network like ShareaSale. They provide a marketplace where your affiliate program will be advertised to other affiliate marketers. They also provide the tracking software for your affiliates so you don’t have to build your own tracking system. In some ways this is better because it takes care of the trust issues. Affiliates are always suspicious of whether or not they’re getting credited for the sales they generate. By having an intermediary take care of transaction tracking and payments, the fear of being cheated is alleviated. Affiliate networks will also take a cut of your sales or charge fees to use their network. So you’ll have to weigh this additional cost to see if you can afford it. 

Third, (and this is most important) Have an affiliate marketing agreement ready to go!

You want to make sure that you contractually set the Terms and Conditions for your relationship with your affiliate marketer. This can include payments, liabilities, taxes and many other things. As an attorney and affiliate marketer myself, I drafted a simple Agreement for business owners to use with their affiliates. This legal document is clear and concise about party expectations and the bounds of the agreement. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Do not start an affiliate program without a legal agreement in place. You will put so much at risk. Don’t do it!

So now that we have addressed how you can go about starting an affiliate program, what are you waiting for?

Do you have an affiliate program for your business? Let me know in the comments! I am always looking for new ones to join.

from the lawyer next door,
Crystallace Fenn

FTC: I participate in an affiliate marketing program. If you choose to make a purchase as a result of clicking a link, I may receive a small commission of the sale. This helps me run my blog and I don’t talk about things I don’t actually use.

HeyCrystallace.Com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising revenues by advertising and linking to [Amazon.com or .ca, .co.uk, etc.]

Legal Disclaimer: Although I am a lawyer by profession, I am not YOUR lawyer. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any kind of attorney-client relationship by your use of this website.


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